FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 15, 2007

Day 15- "Ann, mommy says you're not dead."

I'll be the first to admit that my knowledge of horror cinema beyond the shores of the US isn't that extensive. It's not that I have anything against foreign films, it's just that I haven't seen much; my track record with the Italians is depressingly depressing for someone who's supposed, I assume, to be "well-versed" in horror. But I'm trying, people, I'm trying! Get off my back already, geez. There are only so many hours in a day, you know? Mama does have other things to do.

One film I really dig comes to us courtesy of Lucio Fulci, the goremeister behind the infamous "We are going to eat you!" conquistador zombies (BTdubb, the grossest zombies evar)...House by the Cemetery (1981- that magical year).

I gotta tell ya right off the bat- overall, this movie makes very little sense; shocking, I know. On the surface, it's all good- a family moves from New York City into a large house in Boston...a house by the cemetery!...and all sorts of spooky things happen. People die bloody, Fulci-tastic deaths- it seems there's someone...or something in the basement that likes to kill!

Simple enough, right? Sure. Now wrap that simpleness in a tortilla of psychic abilities, ghosts, weirdo baby sitters, mad scientists, and a fake quote from Henry James that has nothing to do with anything and see how much sense it all makes. As I said, it makes very little sense, but that doesn't mean it's not one tasty burrito!

Okay, I realize that's a horrible analogy but I'm hungry. And the point is, House by the Cemetery doesn't have to make sense to give you the willies. As for me, sometimes I'm terribly easy to please: give me a haunted house with creaking doors, a sealed-off basement, and mysterious noises and I'm sold. There's plenty in the film to give you the creeps: weirdo little girls who appear and disappear from photographs, mannequins and floors that bleed, a large, dark basement, and the voices of crying children to name but a few willies-inducers.

As this is a Lucio Fulci film, there is plenty of gore on display- there's beaucoup de stab-stab, ample blood and body parts strewn about, and the longer it goes on, the grosser it gets. 'Tis a true hoot, my friends.

I'm not going to give away the secrets of Dr Freudstein (gotta love that name), the former owner of the house, but I will say I'd be surprised if Rob Zombie didn't draw at least a little inspiration from this film- House of 1000 Corpses by the Cemetery, anyone?

Sometimes, you just gotta go with it. Pop in the movie, turn off the lights- and your brain- and enjoy the ride. Kind of like when you get a bean burrito at Taco Bell; don't think about it- just let it be, man.

What? I'm still hungry.


spazmo said...

I love how they imply that every house in chilly old New England has a crypt or two smack dab in the middle of its living room.

"Honey, stop being so hysterical. Why, naturally there's a grave marker under the rug in the parlor. It's far too cold to bury people outside, silly. Er, well, except for the people in the cemetery...right by the house...oh just finish the housework already!"

Anonymous said...

I love the dubbing in this movie. I'm guessing the little boy was done by an adult woman, the screams are out of control and "mommy says your not dead."
is the best line! It should replace "C'mon you guys quit kidding around!" as the thing to say when you enter a dark room.

Rey Nova said...

Great film, and good final moment with the kids.

Anonymous said...

As great as the dubbing for the boy in this movie is, it's still not as great as the dubbing for the kid in Burial Ground, which includes maybe the greatest line in cinema history: 'Mother, this cloth smells of death'

I also love that the boy in House by the Cemetery is named Bob. Not Bobby, or Robbie, or even Robert. What kind of kid is named Bob?

Anonymous said...

Taco Bell keeps adding bells and whistles and fireworks to their food (I love that "melty" is now officially part of the English language because of them) -- but sometimes, honestly, the bean burrito is your best choice.

Be the bean.

Joe said...

Martino is fab too. All The Colors Of The Dark is a good one to check out if you arent too familiar.

Anonymous said...

Yes, finally some horror from Italy! House is not my favorite Fulci film, but it is really creepy. I'm so glad you dig it-and to second what Joe said above, you have to check out some Sergio Martino. The now defunct lable NoShame US put out several of his best films on dvd last year.

Joe said...

can you advise on the best Martino to see? ive only seen Colors and one other which i cant recall...

Anonymous said...

Oh, man...
Well, portions of it. It's really mindboggling.
I think I'm expecting better things from it, so when the goofy stuff happens, it irritates me.
Like, the fight with the bat in the kitchen. It goes on FOREVER, like the bat is some twenty pound dog with wings! And the blood that pours out of that thing!

Yeah, the kid's name, Bob, is a weird touch.
Not to mention his voice.

When the mother is dragged down the staircase in the basement... man, they milk that for all its worth, the stairs go on forever!
I should just embrace it as a strange and wonderful horror film instead of taking it so seriously.
But for some reason, my sense of humor is nowhere to be found when I'm watching this film.

And this is from someone who loves NUDE FOR SATAN and ALUCARDA, the latter which is notoriously indulgent when it comes to milking screaming scenes.
Man! I'm just inconsistent, I guess...

Although, I LOVE the way the announcer says "THE HOUSE... BY THE CEMETERY!!" on the trailer.

Stacie Ponder said...

Cattleworks...just let it be, man! Honestly, though, I feel your pain- and it's a big reason why I'm not super into gialli or Italian horror (though I'm trying). They're very styl;e over substance, it seems, and sometimes I'm okay with nonsensical and sometimes I'm not.

And then there's Bob, who's extremely annoying.